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Family Law Assistance Network

Family Law Assistance Network

Response to COVID-19

FLAN helps litigants navigating their Domestic Relations Branch cases, even while the District of Columbia Courts operate remotely.

Individuals who want help with a D.C. custody, child support, parentage, or divorce matter can call FLAN’s intake and triage line at (202) 844-5428 or email [email protected]. FLAN’s intake line is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and is closed on weekends and holidays. FLAN aims to respond to calls within one business day. FLAN is open in-person in courtroom 105 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays ONLY from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Please note that FLAN usually provides advice and/or representation to individuals whose household income does not exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Who We Are

Dad and childrenThe Family Law Assistance Network is a joint project of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, the DC Affordable Law Firm, and the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. The Family Law Assistance Network offers individuals confidential, free legal advice or representation in custody, child support, parentage, and divorce cases heard in the Domestic Relations Branch of D.C. Superior Court. The Family Law Assistance Network services individuals whose household income is below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Individuals can reach The Family Law Assistance Network at 202-844-5428 or [email protected].

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Unrepresented Litigants in Family Law Cases in the District

FamilyAccording to the D.C. Access to Justice Commission Report, 83% of plaintiffs and 93% of respondents in divorce, custody, and miscellaneous cases appear pro se in D.C. Superior Court’s Family Court. According to the same report, 97% of respondents in paternity and child support cases are unrepresented in Family Court. FLAN affiliates offer limited scope services to these pro se litigants who have a family law matter in Family Court. By being on-site at the courthouse, FLAN serves pro se litigants that come to FLAN the day of their hearing, without counsel, and need immediate legal services.

“One of the biggest challenges cited by legal services providers is the high percentage of pro se litigants in Family Court.” – D.C. Access to Justice Commission Report

A Lawyer Can Make a Big Difference

The D.C. Access to Justice Commission Report states that “domestic relations proceedings such as divorce, child custody and visitation are among the highest volume filings in D.C. Superior Court, with close to 4,500 new cases filed in 2018 on top of the 1,200 plus cases that were pending at the beginning of that year.” A lawyer in these types of cases can make a huge difference. However, many litigants in family law cases cannot find attorneys or simply cannot afford an attorney.

Pro se litigants may struggle to fully litigate their family law case, and this puts the stability of their families at risk. Litigants that are represented by counsel have a greater chance of their rights being upheld and their families being protected. Increasing access to justice for litigants who cannot afford a lawyer in family law matters is a key focus for FLAN.

FLAN aims to close this gap in civil legal services by providing free, limited scope services, often the day of a hearing, so that all litigants have a fighting chance in family court.

Law Firm and Legal Services Commitment

FLAN leverages law firm support to provide intake screeners on-site at the court and as a referral source for pro bono cases. FLAN leverages limited resources by placing pro bono cases referred by FLAN for full representation with pro bono attorneys.

For more information, please contact Jenadee Nanini at [email protected].